Open Mic Recap: How Do You Stand Out on the Show Floor?

Open Mic - How do you stand out on the trade show floor?

Another great conversation on our latest Exhibit Marketers Café Open Mic event on LinkedIn! Thanks to Rama Beerfas and Michelle Nicole McNabb who came on stage, and to those who joined us in the audience.

While there is no recording, here’s a quick summary for those who were unable to join us.

Michelle Nicole McNabb pointed out that the strategies depend on the size of the show and goals of the exhibitors. But it all starts by mapping out a clear customer journey and what you want to accomplish.

Rama Beerfas talked about taking a holistic marketing approach, tying in with branding, messaging and theme. It’s also important that whatever you do is targeted to qualified people rather than the show’s entire audience.

Michelle shared an example from a show for meeting planners where the Fort Worth exhibit featured a Michelin star chef creating custom spice blends. Booth staff had a conversation about all their city has to offer while attendees waited on their chosen blend. (She said hers was a great steak blend – the only downside is that she won’t be able to get it again after it runs out!)

I shared a few examples from the new edition of Build a Better Trade Show Image (coming in 2023) including:

  • Using exclusivity with a “velvet-rope area” in your booth that literally has attendees lining up to see it
  • Understanding your audience and what appeals to them – like a Zombie Cow Escape Room for teens at the Future Farmers of America convention!

Rama said one great strategy is to promote booking appointments ahead of time in order to get a personal gift at the show. She also shared some “don’ts” that are a waste of money for the exhibitor:

  • Platform-specific devices (she’s given away a couple of tablets she’s won, plus I once won a smartphone that was Sprint-only and couldn’t find anyone who would take it)
  • Oversized items that are too complicated for people to take home (so they leave it behind in the hotel – if it even makes it that far)
The 5 Print Guys

I shared one of my favorite examples – how a small booth became a huge draw, thanks to five cute little paper robots. International Paper (now Sylvamo) played on the elements of fun, FOMO and social sharing with their Print Guys. I did a podcast interview with one of the creators. Here’s where you can check out that episode (along with a few additional photos).

Michelle talked about a service business that collaborated with one of the conference speakers to be in their booth signing copies of their book. Rama said another good idea is to allow audience participation by trying out the product and walking through all the steps with the presenter.

And Michelle wrapped it all up with a great point: Be mindful of who you’re sending to the booth. Sometimes having tech specialists or customer support on hand can be a draw for attendees who want to go more in-depth.

Do you have a great way to stand out on the show floor? Please share in the comments!

And if you’d like help coming up with specific booth attraction ideas for your next trade show, reach out to me. We can set up a brainstorming consultation to discover the best ways to attract your ideal audience.

The NEW version of Build a Better Trade Show Image has arrived!Click here to learn more